- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Rivalries between radio personalities — both real and fabricated — are nothing new, but Clear Channel Radio this week briefly took one if its hosts off the air for talking about another.

“Elliot in the Morning” show host Elliot Segal was pulled off WWDC-FM (101.1) and replaced by a song at about 8:20 a.m. Monday, as he was apparently preparing to rip into fellow Clear Channel talker Tony Kornheiser.

Mr. Segal, fined and suspended for risque programming in the past, has previously directed barbs at Mr. Kornheiser, the WTEM-AM (SportsTalk 980) host whose show airs from 9 to 11 a.m. and is replayed until 1 p.m. Both men’s shows garner strong ratings.

When Mr. Segal came back after the song ended, he asked why Clear Channel management was censoring him.

“I got one of my bosses telling me that I can talk about Tony all I want, but if I say anything derogatory about him I’ll get dumped off the air. And I’ve got another one who says I have no such restrictions,” Mr. Segal said in an interview. “Honestly, I have no idea as to whether I can or cannot talk about him.”

“I don’t know him,” Mr. Kornheiser said, adding that he met Mr. Segal once at a holiday party years ago. “I’ve heard he crushes me on the air, and I’d be lying if I said I was thrilled with that.”

Mr. Kornheiser said he has never spoken about Mr. Segal on his show and could not imagine a scenario why he would, but “I don’t have any particular restrictions.”

Mr. Segal confirmed the lone face-to-face meeting and said he did not remember what caused the bad blood. The trigger for Monday’s dust-up apparently involved accusations that Mr. Kornheiser was in some way trying to help sabotage a celebrity Hummer race around the Beltway that Mr. Segal’s show held yesterday.

Dave Pugh, who became regional vice president for Clear Channel last month and has yet to agree to a phone interview on any topic, once again refused to comment.

Mr. Kornheiser said he will be leaving WTEM sometime before September to prepare for his first season as a “Monday Night Football” analyst.

Radio insiders said a controversy like this often can generate buzz for both shows involved, but Clear Channel must tread lightly with Mr. Kornheiser or risk losing him sooner rather than later.

Local TV stations nab great “gets”

WRC-TV (Channel 4) and WUSA-TV (Channel 9) each landed high-profile interviews last week.

Barbara Harrison, co-anchor of WRC’s morning news, garnered national attention for her workout room interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The two women had met before, and Ms. Harrison asked Miss Rice last month for permission to join her during a workout after the secretary said she enjoyed a previous story about weight loss. It took about two weeks to schedule before the three-part series aired on the NBC affiliate.

Meanwhile, WUSA landed the first interview with former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael D. Brown after the Associated Press released video showing him warning President Bush about Hurricane Katrina.

Nancy Yamada, a reporter on the CBS station’s evening news show, said a team effort led to the interview that took place in Mr. Brown’s Northern Virginia home.

Channel Surfing runs Wednesdays. Call 202/636-3173 or e-mail dcat@washingtontimes.com.

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